Technology and the customer experience are trending topics two decades into the 21st century. Both have helped to define the modern business landscape.
For customer service, building a business strategy around consumers and going the extra mile for clients is key. Technology is also doing its part by helping with communication and streamlining various other business processes.
When technology and the customer experience overlap, the results can be synergistic. Here are some of the biggest ways that going virtual can impact and improve your customers’ experience.
Going Virtual Boosts Your Customer Service
Arguably the biggest impact that going virtual can have on the customer is through their customer service experience. One of technology’s biggest strengths is its ability to promote communication. This can happen through audio, visual, and text channels. Once your business is on the cloud, live texts, video chats, and phone calls all become possible.
This creates a vital lifeline between you and your customers that is more comprehensive than old-school call center, email, or snail mail communications. If a customer is on your website, they can use a chat option to get answers to their questions right there on the spot. If they want to speak to someone, you can offer a variety of different communication options for them to choose from. If they need to show your customer service team a faulty product, they can upload pictures and videos in minutes.
On top of that, by going virtual, you open the doors to utilize many of the cutting-edge automation and AI solutions available. For instance, you may get a lot of easy-to-answer questions or account update requests. If that’s the case, you don’t have to eat up your team’s valuable time in answering them.
Instead, you can utilize an intelligent virtual agent (IVA) on your website. This can field simple inquiries, freeing your team up to answer the more important or complex questions. Even better, using an IVA solution can also help even smaller businesses provide a certain level of customer support around the clock.
Going Virtual Is Holistic
Another subtle yet profound aspect of going virtual is that it can bring a seamless aspect to the customer experience. Establishing a digital customer experience allows you to weave all aspects of consumer interactions into one omnichannel experience.
A customer can see a virtual ad online, click on through to your website, research your company, learn about your products, make a purchase, and receive support — all while using their phone and never getting off the couch. Many of these shopping, payment and support activities have been separated in the past. And this isn’t just referring to the customer perspective, either. Even on an internal level, many companies kept departments like sales and customer service separate.
By going virtual, you can begin to unify your business processes into an integrated whole. Each department bolsters and supports the next. All of them together create a seamless path for the consumers to follow throughout the customer journey.
Going Virtual Meets Customer Needs
Another benefit of going virtual is that it makes it easier to meet additional customer needs. Your products and services already aim to do this as part of your value proposition. However, an online presence allows you to provide further support.
As customers seek out solutions to their needs, you can tailor your resources to help answer them. For example, a plumber could create a blog post about how to unclog a drain. This provides real, valuable information for potential and existing customers. It also establishes them as an authority in the mind of the customer. Then, when a more serious plumbing issue arises, they are the first solution that comes to mind.
Going Virtual Enhances Customer Engagement
Business is no longer simply about the business itself. It’s also about making a difference, connecting with customers, and becoming a valuable presence in your community. This has sparked countless corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in recent years. However, one of the best ways to foster that communal aspect of your organization is by going virtual.
The online world opens up a plethora of community-oriented activities that you can participate in with your customers. Social media is a unique and effective way to get your customers involved. This allows you to create an online community for your customer base. There, you can encourage them to share pictures of their purchases. You can also receive and answer their questions.
The fun doesn’t have to stop on Facebook or Pinterest, either. You can also create community hotspots right on your website, as well. Provide areas of your site that focus on user-generated content, such as questions, feedback, and reviews. This can encourage even more engagement from your clientele. It can also help with word-of-mouth marketing.
These may all feel like they benefit you as a business. However, they are also key elements of the customer experience, too. A customer community and user-generated content can create crowdsourced answers to common questions about your brand. It can also provide a sense of emotional support for new customers. In addition, it can help highlight flaws and potential improvements in your products. As you adjust your offerings based on user input, it makes the customer experience for your products or services that much better.
It’s pretty easy to make the case for going virtual these days. Cheap marketing, streamlined inventory management, and many other business-oriented advantages are always highlighted. However, there are also many customer-facing reasons to take your company online.
By going virtual, you can astronomically improve your customer experience. This applies to everything, from customer service to meeting customer needs, encouraging customer engagement, and providing a seamless customer journey. No matter what perspective you take, it’s hard to argue with the concept of going virtual these days — especially since technology is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.
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